Report: Japan, US consider bringing China rare-earths issue to WTO
Japan and the United States "unofficially" discussed China's delayed exports of rare-earth metals in Washington, a news report said Friday.
China had suspended exports of rare-earth minerals to Japan in an apparent protest against Japan's arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain in early September near a disputed group of islands in the East China Sea, DPA reported.
Sources of both the US and Japanese governments told the Nikkei business daily that they would not rule out the possibility of jointly asking China to correct its action or bringing the matter to the attention of the World Trade Organization, the daily said in its online evening edition.
The islands - called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China - are claimed by both countries.
Rare earths are a group of elements that are found commonly in the Earth's crust, but are difficult to exploit in an economically viable way. They are in high demand from technology companies, which need them in a number of components for mobile phones and cars.
China is the world's leading exporter of rare-earth metals, producing about 97 per cent of the global supply.